The look: skinny jeans, Chuck Taylors, perfectly mussed bed-head hair. The music: Modest Mouse, the Shins, Pavement. The ethos: DIY, with a big helping of irony. But the blanket term “indie” represents a culture that has evolved over time, drifting in and out of the spotlight in the mainstream.
As popular television shows adopt indie soundtracks and the signature style bleeds into mainstream fashion, the quirky individuality of the movement seems to be losing ground to mainstream outlets looking to co-opt the indie aesthetic as a marketing tool. In Slanted and Enchanted, Kaya Oakes demonstrates how this phase is part of the natural cycle, charting the historical path of a culture that reinvents itself continuously to preserve its core ideals of experimentation, freedom, and collaboration.
Through interviews and profiles of the artists who have spearheaded the cause of indie over the years, including Mike Watt, David Berman, Kathleen Hanna, and Dan Clowes—as well as mining her own experience as an adherent and participant for the past twenty years—Oakes examines the collective creativity and cross-genre experimentation that are the hallmarks of this popular lifestyle trend. Her visits to music festivals, craft fairs, and smaller collectives around the country round out the story, providing a compelling portrayal of indie life on the ground. Culminating in the current indie milieu of music, crafting, style, art, comics, and zines, Oakes reveals from whence indie came and where it will go next.
The Evolution of Indie Culture